Director under fire for opiates

A University medical professional may have gone too far.

 

Former UVM physician assistant Peter Nobes wrote 153 prescriptions for opiate medications for 12 patients at the student health center in 2008 and 2009, according to the Burlington Free Press.

 

Dr. Jon Porter, director of the student health center, now faces allegations that he engaged in unprofessional conduct to failing to adequately supervise Nobes, who he fired in mid-2009 and reported him to the Medical Practice Board.

 

“In hindsight, I wish I had done a lot of things differently,” Nobes said. “But these patients were a very small percentage of the all the patients I saw … Whenever I represented UVM or whenever I saw a patient, I was always trying to do the best I could.”

 

Nobes prescribed 630 Percocet pills to a student patient over a 10-month period, according to the Burlington Free Press.

 

Over a 30-month span, one patient was prescribed 915 oxycodone pills and another was prescribed 290 Vicodin pills.

 

Nobes said there is no evidence any of the opiate drugs, which can produce a sense of euphoria and are highly addictive, were actually diverted or abused by the students, the Burlington Free Press stated.

 

“I had no reason to think these students were doing anything but taking their medications,” Nobes said. “There was no personal gain. There was no knowledge of diversion. I wouldn’t have participated in that. I wouldn’t have put myself at risk by doing that.”

Assistant Attorney General Terry Lovelace argued that Porter was legally liable for the prescribing habits and actions of Nobes, according to WCAX.

 

“This case is about responsibility. It’s about taking responsibility for folks that you manage,” Lovelace said.

The University stands in support of Dr. Porter and has concerns over the implications that the case may have, WCAX stated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I have the utmost confidence and so does UVM in his clinical supervision,” said Annie Stevens, associate vice president of Campus and Student Life. “Dr. Jon Porter reported this himself as soon as he became aware, so why would the board then turn around and try to claim that Dr. Jon Porter has misconduct.”